MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Spring Break for Miami-Dade school students just around the corner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has launched a new campaign to stress the dangers of drinking and driving.
The BTru2U campaign is a collaboration between MADD, the State Attorney’s Office, and The Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community.
Jenny Reyes, 22, knows the deadly results of drinking and driving first hand.
On the morning of January 21st, 2015, her father, Walter Reyes, was cycling on the Rickenbacker Causeway, training for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Alejandro Alvarez, 21, was reportedly returning home after a night of drinking on Miami Beach when the accident happened.
“Wednesday morning at this time I was understanding my life had just changed, all the plans we had after 25 years of marriage, all gone that day because of a 21-year-old who should have known better,” said Reyes’ widow Maribel.
“I have forgotten what my father’s laugh sounds like,” said Jenny Reyes, ” he had such a deep, contagious laugh.”
MADD says parents, not peers, are the biggest influence on a young person’s decision to not drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking.
“Please remember this, one in three young people admit to getting in a car with a drinking driver,” said MADD’s Helen Witty.
Jenny Reyes and her mother said they share their heartbreaking story to prevent tragedies like there’s from happening.
“We open the wound over and over again because what we are trying to do is to make sure that people understand and realize this is not a video game, there is no do over, you don’t get another life once the choices are made, that is it,” said Jenny Reyes.
One of the big events during this year’s campaign will be PowerTalk 21 Day, April 21st, which is the group’s national day for parents to begin conversations with their kids about alcohol.
Seventy-four percent of kids (8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.
MADD adds that parents must not only talk about the dangers of underage drinking but set a good example by not doing it themselves or with their kids.
A nationwide survey by MADD in 2016 found that 80 percent of parents said they had talked to their children about the dangers of riding with a drinking driver. However, 43 percent of parents admitted to having a drink or two at dinner and then driving their children home in the past year, and one in four parents admitted to riding with a drinking driver in the past year.
A study by Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Biobehavioral Health found that students are more willing to ride with a drinking driver if they see their parents do so.